The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerful missionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Missionary Hearts in the Heartland

To the heartland of America. That's where our recent National Meeting of Diocesan Mission Directors and Coordinators took us -- to St. Louis, Missouri. There during our board committee and general meetings, as well as during the three days of our national meeting, we shared the best of the American Catholic tradition: a generous missionary spirit rooted in love of Christ and His Church.

As our special international guests and presenters, we welcomed our new Secretary General of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Father Timothy Lehane, SVD, the National Director of Pontifical Mission Societies in India, Monsignor Ignaci Siluvai, and Father Roger McCarrick, S.M., National Director in the Pacific Islands. Together with Father Phillip Cover of the National Catholic Educational Association and Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg, a media professional, these special presenters gave us a very healthy dose of uplifting mission stories, mission spirituality and new ideas for mission promotion with the endless potential of social media opportunities. And, of course, Monica Yehle from our national office brightened up our day and overwhelmed us with a dramatic presentation of many new and exciting ventures into new media that are already in progress for our "one family in mission."

You can see a record of our national meeting at our special national meeting site. Many in our diocesan mission offices who could not be with us followed that meeting online -- even blogging their thoughts, along with others in attendance, as the days continued. In fact, in the week of the meeting and the week following, there have been some 4,000 visitors to that site, which includes videos of the presentations, as well as their PowerPoint and other support materials. The videos of those presentations are also included on our YouTube site.

Our international guests have commented many times over about the generosity of our faithful in the United States, the dynamism and dedication of our national office, the corps of committed diocesan directors and coordinators of the Pontifical Mission Societies, and the enthusiasm generated when we gather. I would only say "Amen" to such comments.

What inspires our faithful to be so generous in prayer and in sacrifice is the missionary spirit that is shared by our bishops, and our diocesan mission directors and coordinators, and passed on to the people in the pews. America has spoken again with her heart during that national meeting; a generous missionary heart, indeed.

On behalf of the countless beneficiaries of your kindness all over the mission world, I thank you and encourage you to continue in your missionary vocation. Remember, we are all missionaries by virtue of our Baptism.